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Tag: interviewer

Interviewing Students? Here’s How To Get Past Their “Perfect” Answers

In an ideal world, the hiring process would be viewed as a meeting between two professionals who are looking to create a partnership.

It would be an engagement where both individuals viewed each other as an equal. It would be a chance to assess each other to see if this long-term agreement would be beneficial for both parties.

However, to a student or grad looking to start gaining experience in their field, the playing field is anything but level. An over-saturated job market combined with a lack of experience can shift an aspiring professional’s view to survival mode… a desire to increase their chances by whatever means possible.

At first, this may seem like a plus for the recruiter. After all, you have the upper hand – there are tons of qualified students and grads vying for your attention and eager to please. However, all this can backfire when you realize that you’ve hired the wrong person.

The problem: Inauthentic engagements

Many students and grads are under the impression that they have to fit into a specific mould when presenting themselves to an employer. Why? Because everyone has told them to.

When’s the last time you wrote a job posting that asked for introverted qualities versus extroverted? And every employer seems to be asking for the same thing: top communication skills, assertiveness, and fast-paced people who thrive under pressure.

It makes sense that students feel that they need to fulfill these requirements, even if it’s not who they are. They need a foot-in-the-door, and they believe the best way to do that is to tell an employer they can ride a horse, and then learn how to do it later.

What does this mean for recruiters? It means they will be going through applications that are not a reflection of who the candidate is, but rather, what they think the employer wants them to be. It means spending many hours meeting people who play up qualities that they think you want. And in the end, you end up hiring an individual who is nothing like the person you met during the interview. And a mismatched hire is a waste of time for everyone.

The solution: Refocus your approach

More specifically, show candidates that you want to hire them – not an adjusted version of them. Focus your interactions on getting to know them, without making them feel like there is a cookie-cutter persona you are looking for that they have to fill. Of course, you may have a general idea of what you want your hire to look like, and that’s okay. But you may find that the best individual for the role does not 100% fit what you initially expected.

Job postings

Job postings set the tone for a job-seeker. It conveys the expectations and requirements of the role, and dictates the form the successful candidate must take in order to have a chance to prove themselves in the face-to-face interview. A good job posting also reflects the company culture through the copy and layout.

Be careful not to specify what you require of the candidates outside of the technical skills you need. For example, you can tell them you’re looking for individuals who will thrive in a fast-paced environment. But refrain from telling them that you require people who are outgoing and assertive. This will encourage applicants to assess themselves before applying.


Interviews are an employer’s opportunity to meet face-to-face with candidates and see if the personality matches the application. Like the job posting, it’s important to focus on the technical skills rather than the personality traits you want the candidate to have. But you can take your assessment a step further by asking the right questions.

Turn the questions around on a candidate by asking them what they are looking for. For example, instead of asking “What can you do for our company to deliver results?” consider reframing your question to “If you could create any work environment, and control all the elements involved, what scenario would get the best results out of you?” Asking the second question will force your candidate to assess themselves once again, and they are less likely to come up with answers they think you’re looking for.

The benefits

Students will feel valued.

During a long job hunt, many students may start to get discouraged: constantly trying to sell themselves, only to fall short of their ultimate goal. Employers have the opportunity to inject a fresh and engaging element to the hiring process by focusing on the individual candidate on a different level. Asking students and grads who they are and what their interests are will really make a difference, and help you stand out among other organizations.

You will get more honest answers.

This process really helps build rapport with students. The more they feel valued, the more willing they will be to open up. Putting a spin on questions in order to highlight their preferences will often encourage them to share more (as most people love talking about themselves). However, you’ll find that their answers will be much more revealing, so you can determine whether or not they’d be the right fit.

You may find a new persona that fits the role.

Almost every campus recruiter is guilty of going into an event or an interview with a specific persona in mind. It can be easy to sit down in an interview and immediately dismiss the person in front of you because they don’t fit your expectations. By keeping your options open, and encouraging students to show you why their qualities and skills make them a great fit, you may find someone who you never expected to fill the position.

Discussion: As a recruiter, how do you reposition classic interview questions to gain new information about students and grads?

Recruiting On Campus? These 3 Questions Will Quickly Reveal A Student’s Fit With Your Organization

If you have a campus recruitment session coming up, you’re probably bracing yourself for a busy day of shaking hands, presentations, and answering the same questions over and over. But as they say, a hectic day on campus is usually a great sign that students are interested in the roles that your company is hiring for.

That being said, these events leave very little time to actually get to know the students you meet. Let’s face it: after a few hours, faces and names begin to blur, and your attention is likely divided between their answers and the next thing on your to-do list.

You’re not ready to commit to a full interview with these eager applicants, but you should make the most of your brief interactions. These 3 questions can reveal a lot about a student or grad’s fit within your organization.

1. “What do you know about us?”

This is a common question – and for good reason. It’s a great indicator of a potential candidate’s preparedness, and their interest in the company. Most of the time, you will get one of two reactions: a confident, prepared answer, or a vague, broken response.

This is a highly effective tactic when dealing with a high volume of individuals. Inquiring about an applicant’s knowledge of the company is usually done during the face-to-face interview. However, asking this questions during a campus recruitment event is a great way to separate the students you meet into two categories: the ones who are browsing and the ones who are committed to joining your team.

Keep the question open ended, and see which direction the candidate takes their answer. Don’t ask for dry facts about the company – students know that you’re looking for those. Pay attention for the individuals who tie your organization’s mission to their own passions, and bonds with the company on a deeper level.

2. “What are you looking for a company to offer you?”

One important thing to note: you are not asking about what they can do for your company, but rather, what you can do for them.

When students engage with recruiters, most of them will do so with the goal of telling them what they want to hear. Even if they answer your questions with honourable intentions, it can make it difficult to determine whether or not they will fit in with your company.

This question flips the table on the student. You’re putting their needs before your own. “What do you need to advance your career? How can we help you succeed?” This is something that they will not expect – as a result, they are more likely to see your company as an organization that invests and cares about their employees. At the same time, you’ll be able to determine from their answers if they are the right fit for the culture and role that you’re hiring for. It’s a win-win!

3. “What are you passionate about?”

This is another opportunity to put the spotlight on the candidate. Most students and grads will have their core competencies, skills, and educational background rehearsed to a tee. They’re probably tired of rattling off their resume in an attempt to pitch their value to employers. And because they’re in “show mode”, recruiters will find it more difficult to assess their personalities and how they fit in.

The majority of students today associate their identities with some sort of social cause. They have work that they’re passionate about, and excited to share with others. Plus, people naturally jump at the chance to talk about things that they love with other people – giving them the chance will help them ease out of their “interview persona” and settle into their everyday personalities.

Of course, not all students will talk about social causes. Some individuals will bring up their hobbies or activities that they love to do in their spare time. Remember that these are still valuable experiences – and if they have the type of energy and enthusiasm that you’re looking for, then they may be someone you want to bring on board for a face-to-face meeting.

These 3 questions are not meant to be a full assessment of an applicant’s potential. However, it’s a great way to whittle down the volume of applications you receive at a campus event. On top of that, the types of questions you ask can show applicants that your organization is about more than finding top talent – it’s about listening to their needs and supporting them as they advance their careers.

Discussion: What time-saving tactics do you use when you’re working a campus recruitment event?

The Most Successful Campus Recruiters Do These 7 Things. Do You?

Campus recruitment, while rewarding, can be challenging. It requires recruiters to think outside the box, and identify potential within students and grads who are, by and large, inexperienced. Some individuals have a natural talent for their job, while others learn techniques that eventually separate them from the pack. There’s no magic formula for becoming the best in your field – but there’s definitely a lot to be said for those who observe and emulate the best qualities of successful professionals in their business. We’ve compiled 7 habits of successful campus recruiters for you to try during your next recruitment event.

1. They learn about their target audience

It’s not just about knowing what they’re looking for in a job – it’s about being in tune with students and grads in general. Get involved with a few popular trends that your target audience is into, whether it’s getting an Instagram account or watching some popular movies. Even if you don’t end up talking about that activity, you’ll gain insight on their “culture,” and how you can effectively engage and communicate with them. A little effort can go a long way!

2. They create interactive spaces

During info sessions, students and grads come in with the expectation that they’ll be talked at, not talked to. The best campus recruiters take advantage of that expectation – they think outside the box and get them involved in more hands-on activities during the event, whether it’s role playing or doing a survey. When candidates are physically engaged, they are more likely to create a subconscious bond with the company.

3. They ask questions that matter

It’s important to show students and grads that, first and foremost, you are interested in them. Yes, it’s important to go over their education and their past work experience. But students don’t want to show you a work history – they want to talk about their passions and qualities, and how their work ethic makes them stand out from your other candidates. Plus, they’ll feel a lot better knowing they were hired because they were the right person for the job – not because they simply matched the job requirements.

4. They engage with the best in their business

What better way to stay on top of your recruitment game than by connecting with others in your industry? The internet makes it very easy to stay up to date with other campus recruitment professionals – join related groups on LinkedIn and follow established recruiters online. If you get the opportunity to attend a networking event, don’t shy away from swapping a few business cards.

Tip: Have you thought about attending TalentEgg’s Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference? It’s one of the best ways to meet the best in the business – find out more here.

5. They always have an open door

It’s no secret that campus recruiters are always on the move. But no matter how busy they get, the best campus recruiters always make it clear that their door is open. Eliminating a student or grad’s hesitancy to send an email helps to move the recruitment process along, and allows candidates with initiative to reach out to you. Plus, it’s a great means for forging a great and lasting connection.

6. They respond promptly

If you make it clear that your door is open, but don’t answer in a timely fashion, chances are you’ll look dishonest and unprofessional. Keep your promises – if you say the best way to reach you is by email, be sure to respond to them within 24-48 hours. If you don’t have a response right away, a quick email letting them know that you’ll look into it does wonders. If you’re worried about them falling off your radar, invite them to follow up by a certain date if they haven’t heard back from you.

7. They know when to relinquish control

Finally, the best recruiters know that in order to examine the potential in a candidate, it’s important to give them space to act freely. Although they’re in a controlled environment, you can still loosen the structure they have to follow, and see how they respond. Talk to them like a colleague and engage them in casual conversation. When you equalize the roles of the candidate and the recruiter, you can get a sense of how they’ll behave in a work environment. Discussion: Do you agree with the above points? What would you add/adjust on this list?

Do you agree with the above points? What would you add/adjust on this list?